Exclusive: Jake Hager on Bellator 231, working with AEW, and his future plans
Bellator is a leading global mixed martial arts and kickboxing promotion featuring many of the best athletes in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, Bellator events take place in major cities worldwide and can be seen on television in over 160 countries to an available audience of over one billion people.
As seen on both the Paramount Network and DAZN -- the world’s first truly dedicated Live sports streaming service -- Bellator is presenting two major events this weekend, Bellator 231 and Bellator 232. Taking place at the Mohegan Sun Arena on October 25th (Bellator 231) and October 26th (Bellator 232), many of Bellator's top stars will be fighting in Uncasville, Connecticut.
One of those stars is Jake Hager, an undefeated MMA fighter who is also currently working with the popular new company All Elite Wrestling. Hager is notably pulling double duty as both an AEW star within the Inner Circle stable -- alongside AEW Champion Chris Jericho -- and an undefeated main attraction for Bellator.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the All-American collegiate athlete -- also a former World Champion during his WWE tenure -- by phone on October 22, 2019. While audio of the full interview has been embedded, part of the conversation has also been transcribed below.
On where he hopes his career will progress to:
Jake Hager: I'm open to anything. The main reason I wanted to crossover in MMA was that I knew it would open up so many doors for me. Not only would it help my already-incredible pro-wrestling career, but it would also open so many doors for my family and I. That's a different crowd, different market, different levels of exposure. I'm really excited about where we can go.
It feels really surreal to me that I'm 2-0, that I'm signed with AEW and that we have a live show Wednesday nights on TNT. So I'm really enjoying it, and honestly at the same time, I just don't really want to think about it. I just want to keep working hard and make sure this doesn't go away. I know it can all just go away as fast as it came.
On whether his Bellator and AEW worlds may ever cross paths:
Jake Hager: Yeah, absolutely. One of the reasons why I chose Bellator over any of the other MMA promotions was because of how they treat their talent. They treat their fighters like we want to be treated.
They do a good job of taking every fighter's story and situation in-hand before making any decisions. They really say, "Come here, be a star, do what you can do, we will help you." It's such a breath of fresh air.
That's not always the case with companies. They want to keep their thumb on you and don't want you to get bigger because then they have to pay you more. That whole nastiness of it. But Bellator's been great, AEW's been incredible. I definitely think that you will see, at least, cross-promotion in the future, let alone talent coming onto the shows.